Sometimes my hand with the pointing finger is stronger than my hand that holds a mirror. I extend grace and excuses to myself while my pointing finger pronounces judgement on others. How could they? Who would do that? What are they thinking? As the Bible describes it, pointing to the speck in another's eyes while ignoring the plank in my own. (Matthew 7:3-5; Luke 6:41-42)
Other days, the mirror reflects with too great a clarity my human state and yells loudly. How come you did that? What were you thinking? Why did you say that? And the accuser lying around my neck like a noose tightens and turns up the volume in my ear, calling me unflattering, unseemly names. (Revelation 12:10)
Where do I find the stable walkway across this swamp? Of accurately recognizing and naming the evil I see in myself and others, as surely to not name and recognize it is a disservice to grace, mercy, and love poured blood red that has the power to redeem it.
Yet speaking truth of the evil I see in myself can be harsh to my ears. I want to be right. Blameless. Perfect. My pride does not often like to wrestle with the reflection of the less-than.
And sometimes I want the same for others. To tell them that whatever they do, if it seems right to them, feels right to them, is okay. That all roads lead to truth. To believe that more than a narrow path with Jesus' footprints on leads to heaven. I don't always want to be a light exposing darkness for what it is: a life-bleeder and a path leading to their destruction. I don't want the stones hurled at the messenger for calling out the less-than.
But calling out the ugly truths, the sins that enslave us, gives more power and beauty to the truth of redemption. Words that encourage the soul. Truths of how amazingly-knit God made us, that God had us in mind before the creation of the world, that he loves and values us so greatly he left a glorious kingdom, lessened himself, walked among us, and died a cruel death to redeem us from our less-than. We are so precious to him. (Psalm 139:13; Galatians 3:13, 4:5; 1 Peter 1:18-19;Ephesians 3:18-19)
And there are life words to believers we need spoken. That as believers in God and his son Jesus Christ's finished work, God sees us as redeemed, holy and forgiven. (Hebrews 10:14, Colossians 1:22) We are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17) That he will finish the work that he has started in us. (Philippians 1:6) We are blessed with every spiritual blessing (Ephesians 1:3) and that God is beyond worthy of our praise and worship. (Psalm 150:1-2; 2 Samuel 22:4)
So this path navigation continues. Recognizing the thorns and the roses, the sin and the redemption, both strewn prolifically on my path.
But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Saviour, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:4-6
Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. 2 Corinthians 7:10